So where are the CalMac directors hiding?
There are four non-executive directors, hand-picked by the Scottish Government to be as far removed as possible from the islands the company are supposed to serve. So who are they?
The chairman, Erik Ostegaard, is based in Copenhagen and chaired CMAL throughout the debacle of the two missing ferries. He has disappeared entirely as the CalMac crisis deepened leaving chief executive Robbie Drummond to take the public flak.
Tim Ingram is a mysterious quango favourite who was appointed to both CalMac and Western Isles NHS Boards, each being used as a bogus credential for the other. Ingram was shamed into resigning from the Health Board. He divides his time between Aberdeen and Newcastle.
Grant Macrae is another in the “any quango will do” club. As well as being a CalMac director, he is on the board of the Scottish Police Authority. Macrae is an Edinburgh-based accountant who started his quango career on the Accounts Commission for Scotland.
Sharon O’Connor, according to her Twitter account, divides her time between Belfast and the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal. She holds three Irish quango appointments and was, until last year, a member of the Accounts Commission for Scotland.
So there you have it – as the CalMac fleet reaches breaking-point, its board of directors might be found in Copenhagen, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Belfast, Inishowen – just about anywhere other than the islands which are seeing their economies crippled by ferry failures.
Last November, the Scottish Government invited applications for two additional CalMac directors. They said they were looking for islanders – but omitted to advertise the posts anywhere in the islands; only on a web-site followed by insiders on the quango circuit. The Gazette highlighted the vacancies just days before applications closed.
The Gazette asked Transport Scotland this week when to expect appointments and was told “in due course”. Meantime, who on the CalMac board speaks for the islands rather than for the security of their own positions? Absolutely nobody.